Susan McKay

Susan McKay’s new book, Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground, comes out in April.

Diary: Pro-­Union Non­-Unionists

Susan McKay, 4 March 2021

Last month​, Michael Gove dispatched Ian Paisley Junior, the Democratic Unionist Party MP for North Antrim, with brutal indifference. Brexit was done, the DUP had been done over, and everyone could see that it was entirely the party’s own fault. On 11 February, Gove spoke from the House of Commons while Paisley Junior sat at his computer in Ballymena. Over video link, he asked Gove to...

Diary: Breakdown in Power-Sharing

Susan McKay, 8 March 2018

The​ latest talks aimed at restoring devolved rule to Northern Ireland have failed. Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and first minister of Northern Ireland when the Stormont Assembly collapsed early last year, has urged the Conservative secretary of state, Karen Bradley, who has been in office for a matter of weeks, not only to ‘set a budget but also to take...

Diary: The Irish Border

Susan McKay, 30 March 2017

A friend who lives in the North and works in an EU-funded community centre in the South said she fears the return of the border to the minds of the people. The old questions. Who are you? Where are you from? Do you have any identification? What is the purpose of your journey?

Diary: Soldier Dolls in Belfast

Susan McKay, 21 April 2016

I moved​ to Belfast in 1981. It was the autumn after a summer of funerals for the IRA hunger-strikers, and Belfast was desolate. Along with exhaustion there was an ominous sense that rage was renewing itself. Neither unionist nor republican, I was in a political no-man’s-land and it was scary.

I had worked as a volunteer counsellor in the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, the first in...

Diary: Jean McConville

Susan McKay, 19 December 2013

In the only photograph of Jean McConville, taken in 1965, she stands beside a row of her children. She’s pregnant, her arms folded, hands hidden, wearing an apron. Her head is tilted, dark wavy hair pulled back and eyes scrunched up against the light. In the foreground, often cropped out, is her husband, Arthur. He is sitting down so you can’t see how tall he was. ‘They used...

At City Hall: Belfast Protests

Susan McKay, 7 February 2013

‘Disgruntled. That’s the word.’ The man was explaining how loyalists felt as they launched into the seventh week of their street protests. ‘The Republicans have got their foot under the table now and they are out to destroy everything that is British. Everything has turned full circle. Our culture is being destroyed. They are getting all the jobs and all the good...

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